Road to Bulgaria's 'Customs Agents Village' Built with EU Funds

Properties | October 20, 2010, Wednesday // 18:19|  views

The Governor of the southern Haskovo Region, Rumen Danev, is pictured celebrating Christmas with children from a local orphanage. Photo by BGNES

The order to build the notorious vacation village "Arda," better known as The Customs Agents Village, was signed in 2000 by the then Regional Minister, Evgeni Chachev.

The information was reported Wednesday by the Governor of the southern Haskovo Region, Rumen Danev, upon the conclusion of the probe he requested in the vicinity of the Ivaylovgrad dam.

The probe was triggered by the disclosure of pictures made by employees of the National Revenue Agency, who flew in a helicopter over 45 properties, constructed illegally on State lands on the of dam and involved properties in the village of Stavri Dimovo aka The Customs Agents Village and those located between the villages of Malki Voden and Borislavtsi.

Danev says illegal buildings in Stavri Dimovo have been located as early as 1998, leading to the 2000 order.

Based on the order a municipal cadastre map was prepared but everything stopped there because the village was not approved, according to the Governor.

The current probe found three electric power distribution posts. The village also has plumbing and sewage. Information about who is paying the electric bills has been requested by the power utility EVN along with information about the water bills.

The only new water-main is connected with the villa of the Head of the Customs in the town of Svilengrad, Stefan Marashev, and it is unclear how the other owners get water and pay for it, Danev says.

Municipal data shows that only 6 to 8 of all buildings in Stavri Dimovo are legal.

The probe also found about 11 illegal trailers and sheds between Malki Voden and Borislavtsi and the authorities are looking for their owners.

Meanwhile, another scandal broke involving The Customs Agents Village after it was discovered the road leading to it was built with EU funds, as the sign at the junction reads.

Also on Wednesday, the Director of the Bulgarian Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov, informed that Head of the Customs in the Southern city of Svilengrad, Stefan Marashev, is keeping his job and would not face legal proceedings, because the preliminary probe failed to collect any evidence in order to press legal charges, despite the fact his dismissal was personally requested by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov.

Marashev is insisting his property is legal.

The vacation village Stavri Dimovo, on the banks of the Ivaylovgrad dam, is better known by its nickname – The Customs Agents Village over the luxury mansion properties belonging to people from Sofia and the southeastern border town of Svilengrad, who are mostly senior civil servants such as Customs agents, traffic cops as well as businessmen.

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Tags: Rumen Danev, Vanyo Tanov, villa, Ivaylovgrad, Ivaylovgrad water reservoir, Stefan Marashev, Svilengrad, Agency for National Construction Control, Svilengrad customs office, customs agents, National Revenue Agency, videotape, properties, NRA, luxury real estate, taxes, tax crime, declared income, income, proof of income, Plovdiv, Markovo, Belashtitsa, Ivan Simidchiev, Rosen Plevneliev, Boyko Borisov, DANS, Milka Gecheva, Simeon Djankov


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